Depictions of revered beings sitting on animal skins (e.g. Shiva on tiger skin and Buddhist ascetics on dear/antelope skin): how does this align with vegetarianism/ahimsa? There are a number of ponderings to consider here:
– if ascetics have done away with possessions, live within nature far from civilisation and thus man-made fabrics, it is perhaps the material on offer to them
– perhaps the animals have been found in the state of death already and so these depictions can represent the seeking of connection with animals/natural forces and acceptance of death
– belief that having a natural material on which to practice offers insulation from the earthly forces/magnetic pull of the Earth whilst pure/sattvic energies can also be absorbed by the practitioner from the animal skin, enabling energy to continue to rise up more toward the universe
– such skins are thought to keep poisonous creatures (e.g., snakes, scorpions) at a safe distance as they do not like to go on such surfaces, meaning meditation can continue
– (as within a lot of more violent-seeming parts of mythological stories) the animal skin depictions represent forces in life or aspects of human nature that the ascetic sitting upon them has gained control over (especially the mind) through meditation
– another perspective is that vegetarianism potentially evolved later within the philosophy
Anyone know of any other thoughts on this?